The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done


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After World War II, Germany and the Allied powers took pains to make sure that its citizens would never forget the country’s dark history. But in America, much of our past remains hidden or rewritten. This week, Brooke visits Montgomery, Alabama, home to The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new museum and memorial created by the Equal Justice Initiative that aim to bring America’s history of segregation and racial terror to the forefront.
  1. Brooke talks to the Equal Justice Initiative's [@eji_org] Bryan Stevenson about what inspired him to create The Legacy Museum and memorial and to historian Sir Richard Evans [@RichardEvans36] about the denazification process in Germany after World War II. Listen.
  2. Brooke visits The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Listen.

  3. Brooke speaks again with Bryan Stevenson about his own history and America's ongoing struggle to confront our Continue reading "The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done"

We’re Not Very Good At This


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America’s divisions are all the more clear after another frenzied news cycle. This week, we ask a historian and a data scientist whether we humans are capable of governing ourselves. Plus, the post-midterm prognosis on climate change, and how our media have often complicated our country’s founding spirit of self-reflection.
  1. Brooke [@OTMBrooke] looks at the Shepard tone of anti-democratic news developments over the past week. Listen.

  2. Kate Aronoff [@KateAronoff], contributing writer at the Intercept, on how climate change fared in this week's midterms. Listen.

  3. Mary Christina Wood, University of Oregon law professor, on the public trust doctrine. Listen.

  4. Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, on the enduring argument over the role of government in American life. Listen.

  5. Joshua M. Epstein, director of NYU's Agent-Based Modeling Lab, on the computerized models that can teach us about how we behave in groups. Listen.

 

Knock, Knock


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With the midterms approaching, Democrats and Republicans are fighting to control the national conversation. This week, On the Media looks at how to assess the predictions about a blue or red wave this November. Republican messaging — especially from the White House — has emphasized the dangers presented by the so-called caravan. How did that caravan begin? And, what is the history behind the documents that regulate international travel? Plus, how transgender rights activists in Massachusetts are deploying a counter-intuitive door-to-door tactic.
  1. Clare Malone [@ClareMalone], senior political writer for FiveThirtyEight, on the electoral reporting tropes that dominate midterm coverage. Listen.

  2. Sarah Kinosian [@skinosian], freelance reporter, on the origins of the current Central American caravan. Listen.

  3. John Torpey [@JohnCTorpey], historian at the CUNY Graduate Center, on the history of passports. Listen.

  4. David Broockman [@dbroockman], political scientist at the Stanford Graduate Continue reading "Knock, Knock"

West Virginia’s “Genius” Watchdog


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Nearly two years since the 2016 Presidential Election, much of the press are still covering so-called "Trump country" using a series of simplistic narratives, blaming these states for Trump and portraying them as irrevocably scarred by the decline of the coal industry. That doesn't mean there aren't real problems surrounding the fossil fuel industry. Ken Ward Jr. is a reporter at West Virginia’s Charleston Gazette-Mail, where since 1991 he’s been covering the coal, chemical and natural gas industries, and their impact on communities that were promised a better future. Bob speaks with Ken about the reporting that earned him a 2018 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, and how West Virginia's coal country is moving forward.

Bloodlines


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In using a genetic test to try to prove her Native ancestry, Senator Elizabeth Warren inadvertently stepped into a quagmire. This week, we examine the tensions around DNA and identity. Plus, after Jamal Khashoggi’s death, revisiting the trope of the so-called reformist Saudi royal. And, a look at what we can learn — and how we've tried to learn it — from twins, triplets and other multiple births.
  1. Abdullah Al-Arian, [@anhistorian] professor of Middle East History at Georgetown University, on the decades-long trope in American op-ed pages about reformist Saudi royals. Listen.
  2. Kim TallBear, [@KimTallBear] professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science, on the way "blood" has been used to undermine tribal sovereignty. Listen.

  3. Alondra Nelson, [@alondra] president of the Social Science Research Continue reading "Bloodlines"

The Radical Catalog


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Another chapter in the history of American consumerism came to a close this week when the retail giant Sears announced it was filing for bankruptcy and closing 142 of its unprofitable stores. As experts sifted through the details about what doomed Sears, we found ourselves reading a Twitter thread about a little-known bit of shopping history. Louis Hyman is an economic historian and professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He tweeted: "In my history of consumption class, I teach about Sears, but what most people don't know is just how radical the catalogue was in the era of Jim Crow." In this week's podcast extra, Hyman talks to Brooke about what we can learn from the way Sears upended Jim Crow power dynamics, and what lessons it offers about capitalism more broadly. His latest book is Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary.  

Full Faith & Credit


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Ten autumns ago came two watershed moments in the history of money. In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers triggered a financial meltdown from which the world has yet to fully recover. The following month, someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto introduced BitCoin, the first cryptocurrency. Before our eyes, the very architecture of money was evolving — potentially changing the world in the process. In this hour, On the Media looks at the story of money, from its uncertain origins to its digital reinvention in the form of cryptocurrency.
  1. The life and work of JSG Boggs, the artist who created hand-drawn replicas of currency that he used to buy goods and services. With Lawrence Weschler and MIT's Neha Nerula [@neha]. Listen.
2. A brief history of money with UC Irvine's Bill Maurer and Mark Blyth [@MkBlyth] from Brown University. Listen. 
  1. Continue reading "Full Faith & Credit"

Reimagining History


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Last week, the MacArthur Foundation awarded genius grants to 25 creatives in art, literature, science and music. John Keene, a writer of poetry, fiction and cultural criticism, was one of them. He was recognized for his innovative use of language and form, and the way his work “exposes the social structures that confine, enslave, or destroy” people of color and queer people. Keene spoke to Brooke back in 2015 about his story collection, Counternarratives, which centers the voices of the marginalized in both imagined and reimagined historical moments.

Make Amends


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Senators are weighing serious allegations of attempted rape as they consider Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, McDonald's employees in ten cities went on strike to bring attention to sexual harassment at the fast food chain. This week, we look at the ripples from the #MeToo movement and how much further they have to go. 
  1. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's expected testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has echoes of Anita Hill's testimony against Clarence Thomas in 1991. Kai Wright [@kai_wright] of the podcast The United States of Anxiety revisits how that moment led to a "Year of the Woman" in 1992. Listen. 

  2. Disgraced former radio hosts Jian Ghomeshi and John Hockenberry recently wrote essays reflecting on their lost status after #MeToo allegations. Slate's Laura Miller [@magiciansbook] discusses the serious shortcomings of those essays. Listen.

  3. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg [ Continue reading "Make Amends"

O See, Can You Say


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Between the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill and an anonymous op-ed from within the Trump White House, a wave of rule-bending and -breaking has crashed on Washington. This week, we explore how political decorum and popular dissent have evolved since the early days of our republic — and how the legal protections for those core freedoms could transform our future.
  1. Brooke and Bob on how best to cover the anonymous op/ed written by a "senior official in the Trump administration." Listen.
  2. Geoffrey Stone, professor of law at University of Chicago, on our evolving — and occasionally faulty — interpretations of the first amendment. And, Laura Weinrib, professor of law at University of Chicago, on how early-20th century labor struggles gave birth to our modern ideas about freedom of speech. Listen.

  3. Tim Wu [@superwuster], professor of law at Columbia University, on how the first amendment Continue reading "O See, Can You Say"

Face the Racist Nation


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For more than a year, Lois Beckett [@loisbeckett], senior reporter at The Guardian US, has been showing up at white nationalist rallies, taking their pictures, writing down what they say. And she finds herself thinking: How did we get here? How did her beat as a political reporter come to include interviewing Nazis? And what are the consequences of giving these groups this much coverage? In this week's program we take a deep dive into what the news media often get wrong about white supremacists, and what those errors expose about the broader challenge of confronting racism in America.
  1. Elle Reeve [@elspethreeve], correspondent for VICE News, Anna Merlan [@annamerlan], reporter for Gizmodo Media’s special projects desk, Vegas Tenold [@Vegastenold], journalist and author of Everything You Love Will Burn, and Al Letson [@Al_Letson], host of Reveal, from The Center for Investigative Continue reading "Face the Racist Nation"

Fallout


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End-of-times narratives themselves are nothing new; only the means have changed. While once a few horsemen and a river of blood were enough to signal the dusk of man, apocalypse now requires the imaginations of entire atomic laboratories — or roving squads of special effects crews. This week we look through a few recent highlights from the genre: from a 1980's made-for-TV spectacle, to a new piece of speculative fiction documenting a hypothetical nuclear conflict with North Korea.
  1. Jeffrey Lewis [@ArmsControlWonk], author of "The 2020 Commission Report," on what we might say to ourselves after a devastating war with North Korea. Listen.

  2. Marsha Gordon [@MarshaGGordon], film studies professor at North Carolina State University, on the 1983 film "The Day After," which imagines a massive nuclear strike in the Midwestern U.S. Listen.

  3. Anne Washburn, playwright, on "Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play," Continue reading "Fallout"

Enemy of the People


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At a rally in Tampa, Florida, Trump supporters attacked CNN reporter Jim Acosta, prompting the president to double down on his anti-press "Enemy of the People" rhetoric. A look at how and why the president incites his base — and where it all might lead. And, as the regulatory battle surrounding 3D gun blueprints rages on, we dive into the worldview of Cody Wilson, the man who started the controversy. Plus, why we’re still living in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s killing, six years later. 1. Greg Sargent [@ThePlumLineGS], columnist at the Washington Post, on the president's dangerous anti-press rhetoric. Listen. 2. Andy Greenberg [@a_greenberg], reporter for Wired, on the regulatory battles surrounding 3D gun blueprints. And, Cody Wilson [@Radomysisky], founder of Defense Distributed, speaking on his vision for an open source library for gun schematics. Listen.
  1. Benjamin Crump [@AttorneyCrump], civil Continue reading "Enemy of the People"

I Can’t Breathe


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Four years ago this week, on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island at the hands of a New York City police officer. We probably wouldn't have known if it hadn't been for a cellphone video that captured his arrest, the excessive force that killed him, and his final words. The national media couldn’t look away, until they did look away. Matt Taibbi is a journalist and author of the book, I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, an exploration of Eric Garner’s life and death in the media — and of his real life, too. Brooke spoke to him last year.

Big Sky, Dark Money


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With President Trump's nomination of federal judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court will likely be locked up by the political right for a generation. This is in large part thanks to a historic decision made in 2010 by the court’s then-shakier conservative majority: the Citizens United ruling, which fundamentally reshaped the political landscape of the United States by unleashing floods of political spending, particularly in the form of untraceable "dark money."  For the state of Montana, the post-Citizens United world has brought back old memories: over a century ago, copper kings like William A. Clark used their vast wealth to control the state and buy up political power. In 1912, the state responded by passing one of the first campaign finance laws in the nation, banning corporate political spending entirely. That law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012, but Montanans have continued to push back against corporate political spending using other means. A new documentary, Dark Continue reading "Big Sky, Dark Money"

Blame It On The Alcohol


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This week, we devote an entire hour to what one important scholar deemed “the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” From its earliest role as a source of nourishment to its depictions in ancient literature, we examine the roots of mankind’s everlasting drinking problems. Plus, how a bizarre 60 Minutes piece spread the idea that red wine has medicinal effects. Then, a look at how popular culture has incorrectly framed Alcoholics Anonymous as the best and only option for addiction recovery. And, a scientist cooks up a synthetic substitute for booze. 1. Iain Gately, author of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol, on the ancient origins of our core beliefs about booze. Listen. 2. Robert Taylor, assistant managing editor at Wine Spectator, on red wine's constantly changing reputation as a healthy substance. Listen.
  1. Gabrielle Glaser [@GabrielleGlaser], author of Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Continue reading "Blame It On The Alcohol"

Chaos Agents


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Family separation, a re-framed immigration debate and Trump's misleading executive order: why news fatigue about the border isn’t an option. This week, we explore multiple sides of the asylum policy — including the view from Central America. Plus, a look back at US repatriation policy in the 1930's, and six decades of American culture wars. 
  1. Dara Lind [@DLind] and Dahlia Lithwick [@Dahlialithwick] on how Trump's family separation policy attempts to re-frame the immigration debate, and why news fatigue isn't an option. Listen.
  2. Carlos Dada [@CarlosDada] on the way the family separation and zero-tolerance asylum policy are changing the way Central Americans see the United States. Listen.

3. Francisco Balderrama on the mass expulsion of Mexican immigrants and their American-born children from the United States during the Great Depression. Listen.

  1. Brian Lehrer [@BrianLehrer] on six decades of culture wars Continue reading "Chaos Agents"

The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done


This post is by WNYC Studios from On the Media


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




After World War II, Germany and the Allied powers took pains to make sure that its citizens would never forget the country’s dark history. But in America, much of our past remains hidden or rewritten. This week, Brooke visits Montgomery, Alabama, home to The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new museum and memorial created by the Equal Justice Initiative that aim to bring America’s history of segregation and racial terror to the forefront.
  1. Brooke talks to the Equal Justice Initiative's [@eji_org] Bryan Stevenson about what inspired him to create The Legacy Museum and memorial and to historian Sir Richard Evans [@RichardEvans36] about the denazification process in Germany after World War II. Listen.

  2. Brooke visits The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Listen.

  3. Brooke speaks again with Bryan Stevenson about his own history and America's ongoing struggle to confront our racist past and present. Listen.

Africatown


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Just outside of Mobile, Alabama, sits the small community of Africatown, a town established by the last known slaves brought to America, illegally, in 1860. Decades after that last slave ship, The Clotilde, burned in the waters outside Mobile, Africatown residents are pushing back against the forces of industrial destruction and national amnesia. Local struggles over environmental justice, land ownership, and development could determine whether Africatown becomes an historical destination, a living monument to a lingering past — or whether shadows cast by highway overpasses and gasoline tanks will erase our country's hard-learned lessons.  Brooke spoke with Deborah G. Plant, editor of a new book by Zora Neale Hurston's about a founder of Africatown, Joe Womack, environmental activist and Africatown resident, Vickii Howell, president and CEO of the MOVE Gulf Coast Community Development Corporation, Charles Torrey, research historian for the History Museum of Mobile, and others about Continue reading "Africatown"

This Is America


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Today, more than 45 million Americans live in poverty. The problem has been addressed countless times since the nation’s founding, but it persists, and for the poorest among us, it gets worse. America has not been able to find its way to a sustainable solution, because most of its citizens see the problem of poverty from a distance, through a distorted lens. So in 2016 we presented "Busted: America's Poverty Myths," a series exploring how our understanding of poverty is shaped not by facts, but by private presumptions, media narratives, and the tales of the American Dream. This week we're revisiting part of that series. 
  1. Matthew Desmond [@just_shelter], author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American Cityon the myriad factors that perpetuate wealth inequality and Jack Frech [@FrechJack], former Athens County Ohio Welfare Director, on how the media's short attention span for inequality Continue reading "This Is America"